tv [untitled] April 1, 2014 7:00am-7:31am PDT
the departments of government operate ethically and that the public also has our recommendations and that we educate the public as to the ethical obligations of other departments. i did not see this -- i still don't see this -- as -- in terms of that stipulation as precluding us from going forward and saying some other agency had an obligation now to do something ethically. they didn't do it. we as the ethics commission see that as an ethical failure. if there is a finality to something, i agree. i didn't see this as reopening anything that had been made final. it had moved on to another level. >> commissioner andrews. >> so, could we within the
stipulation more clearly outline what we thought should happen, disciplinary action, that we would only agree to the stipulation if indeed -- and not necessarily saying that it would be termination, but it would be some [speaker not understood] whatever disciplinary action were toke tab enwere taken, or even have an understanding of what that could be while we were knit md l of settlement agreement ? >> in my opinion we would be better off doing that in the future ~ in order to make sure that we have, indeed, finalized something to the extent that my fellow commissioners are uncomfortable that it was finalized and that this was reopening it. so, some language might be added that might address the problem in the future so that it wouldn't come up. >> and i guess if i could just
add, if there is a stipulation before the commission that you did not agree with because you felt that there should be some recommendation, your one course of action would be to reject the stipulation or propose an amendment to the stipulation, but that stipulation would then have to be approved by whoever the respondent was. there is nothing that would preclude you from doing that. >> and we probably couldn't in the stipulation mandate any sort of disciplinary action by the department head because the stipulation is just between us and the respondent, right, or the other party. >> right. and the range of possible disciplinary options. >> right. >> -- here did not include discipline. you did have the authority to, you know, make a recommendation to the puc or whoever, but i think the best practice going
forward is that everything be included in one agreement and that if there is no recommendation without any kind of discipline, that perhaps some additional language could be added to the draft stipulations to kind of tighten it up to make clear that, you know, there will be -- that final action -- the final disposition includes any subsequent consideration of anything related to that particular -- >> well, i think if we decide as a body that if we're going to make some recommendation that we just include it in the settlement. >> exactly. >> so that we are also going to send this letter and make it clear that everybody is on notice as to what we -- >> and that if there is no such recommendation, that there will not be a subsequent recommendation. >> right, right. >> just wanted to point out, though, in terms of reading the regs for the commission, there
is a particular section dedicated to stipulated orders specifically and it's section -- looks like 14 b which say that the stipulated order -- sorry, stipulation shall set forth the pertinent facts and may include an agreement as to anything that could be ordered by the commission under its authority pursuant to charter section c3, et cetera, and that section in turn talks about -- i have it here -- excuse me for a minute while i get it. so, in other words, it seems like our regs contemplate that, you know, whatever we can do under the charter provision is what would be included in that stipulation. and that is cease and desist the violation, file any required report, statements, et cetera.
pay a monetary penalty of up to $5,000 usually. there is a provision here that says with respect to city officers other than those identified in 8.107 of the charter, which is probably out of date, that reference, when the commission determines the basis of substantial evidence that a violation has occurred, the commission may recommend the appointing officer that the officer at issue be removed from office. and that's it. so, i guess without moving forward and having, you know, just sort of looking at it right now, my one concern would be to the extent there is additional language, that's sort of outside the scope of what's provided for in the charter, it might not be allowed for under the regs. i don't know if the city attorney has kind of a question on that. >> it sounds like if there was a recommendation for termination, then that would be contemplated in the language you just read.
>> well, only if somebody -- only with respect to particular city officers and only with respect -- a recommendation to an appointing officer. i'm not sure if that's a defined term or not. at any rate, it seems like it might be an issue for us to take a look at. >> sure. i mean, i still think that there is nothing -- i'll look at it. >> commissioners, any further comment? >> one of the concerns i had as i was listening to all the public comment was that we didn't have any hearings leading up to this stipulated settlement. neder, its was the fppc and as far as i know, there was little or no activity by the ethics commission and its staff to do
a complete investigation. >> i think we did investigate. >> yeah. >> we did our own investigation. >> i mean, in other words, there was never any investigation as to how serious the offense was. i mean, we all react to the fact it's a conflict of interest. but whether or not it was -- rose to the level that somebody should be fired because they committed a conflict of interest, i didn't feel i as a commissioner was in any position to do any value judgment on that. that was up to the agency who -- to make that determination, absent some record that i had in front of me that would cause me to either think this woman should be fired or she shouldn't be fired. i mean, it's -- i think if
we're going to make recommendations concerning what the agency should do, we've got to have a lot more information about -- and understanding of what investigation the agency made and reached its determination. boss comes in and says, i think i took appropriate action. can't tell us what it is obviously for it's a personnel matter. i don't know what he did. but he he seemed -- his judgment, then we listened to all this public comment about what a wonderful employee she is and a wonderful community leader, there is no way i'm inclined to tell the puc you ought to fire her. well, he did have more than commissioner renne
characterized in the stipulation. he had some egregious language in the violation itself. influencing a governmental decision in which the official has a financial benefit. and i remember at the time when we were looking at that myself, i don't want to speak for commissioner hur who is next to me, we sort of had a visceral reaction to that, made some comments, some comments that were in the record. and in regard to the other language, prohibits any city officer or employee from making a contract in which he or she has a financial interest. it wasn't just some sort of generic thing. well, yeah, she he didn't -- she really didn't do it right. it was this is fairly substantial language of a violation how we heard all this other stuff. in my opinion [speaker not
understood] in all the other thing we heard. in the face of it, i looked at that and i looked at what we see he is our mandate under our rules ~ to promote the highest standards of ethical behavior in government, and i see a department which is allowing someone to continue an employment who has pled guilty to these two rather egregiously sounding offenses. and to me it seemed based upon that knowledge and that knowledge only, it was appropriate to say that she shouldn't continue. i've learned a lot more tonight, i have to tell you. >> that's the problem. >> that's the problem, is that it come off with, sure, you're quoting the statute. but even as you read the facts, what we knew about the facts, i
certainly didn't feel it was a corruption case in the classic term of the word. that is some public employee who is taking money under the table or doing something else. and her conduct, when it came up, was essential open and above and cooperative and she's paid the fine for it. she's made a mistake. i agree with these people who said she's made a mistake, she fessed up to it and go forward. ~ certainly >> commissioner, it sounds to me in some ways we're kind of doing our own temperature check on the commission's comfort level with the city departments to internally deal with this personnel matter in some kind of disciplinary fashion. if we trust that there is a process, an internal process, and we trust that something would have happened, then we would -- it seems to me we wouldn't be finding ourselves
here so much. to believe that nothing happened, i would say yes. but we'll never know. we don't know. it sounds to me it felt like the executive director was intimating that something happened and there was some disciplinary action, it was a personnel issue. he he said all the right things in public. around the fact that it's an h.r. issue. but the fact is we'll never know what actually that was. so, we'll just always have to trust the disciplinary actions were taken, if appropriate. so, to me, it seems that would be a logical and reasonable line item to add to a stipulation that if appropriate, disciplinary action should be taken by the agency or the entity. i mean, it's vague enough, it would seem to me, that at least it brings to notice that the organization has a responsibility or the entity
has a responsibility to investigate what they should do post the commission's decision. >> and i think that's fine to include. i think to the extent we want to provide a recommendation, i do think it should be done in the context of discussing the settlement in which case, for example, we had determined -- i'm not saying there was or wasn't sufficient evidence to make this determination. but if we had determined that we thought we wanted to send a letter like that, then i think the procedure would have been -- the settlement would have been rejected. the commission would have had -- staff would have had to gone back to ms. ellis. and if she rejected that part of -- she rejected the settlement on that basis, then it would come to a hearing in front of us and then we would hear all the evidence and make a determination. so, as long as we make that decision in the context of approving the settlement, i think we are going to cover our bases and sort of do the right
thing by due process. >> the only thing i would just add to that, i think you're absolutely right, is -- and that's why i said the word reasonable. it would be reasonable -- i mean, it would be -- almost seem unreasonable for the respondent to not want to sign off on, if appropriate, disciplinary action be taken. what they're basically saying is i get to violate it and i don't think it's fair if i am disciplined on my violation. so, it's well within not only what i consider just general reasoning among the commission, but certainly to any of the respondents who are in violation. ~ of any of these codes. that's where i wanted to see if we could find a middle ground here, where it would not be a kill switch on the stipulation, but at least have, have the, the violator on notice, the respondent on notice, and the entity on notice that something should be done.
>> okay. public comment on this notice? hello, commissioners. today is a very sad day, really, very sad day. i participated when gavin williams, his case was brought before you all, tony hall, sheriff ross mirkarimi, and now juliet [speaker not understood]. during your deliberations, y'all know you were a little bit slow because of whatever reason in adjudicating this case. this case really came from the fair political practices committee which had a
stipulation ~. and then just because it came from a higher authority, that kind of entered the flow and y'all messed up big time. so, in the investigation, there are over 30 cases of the san francisco public utilities commission [speaker not understood], their employees, infringe on ethics, morals and standards. this woman, juliet ellis, ~ chose and employed the wife of this director [speaker not understood]. you all failed to do the investigation. y'all failed miserably.
you remember president bill clinton, i did not have sex with this woman? monica lewin ski, looking us all in the eye and not blinking, and what they found out, that he did. juliet ellis is a very, very elegant person. [speaker not understood] to me. and once in this hallway and a bunch over there, i warned her many, many months ago to change her ways, change her ways and be humble. she did not. commissioners, today is a very, very sad day in the history of
this commission that was charged to do right, to discern and to adjudicate based on morals, ethics and standards. you failed miserably. thank you very much. good evening again. dr. espinola jackson. i would like to say, after listening to your deliberations, i went to the commission, puc commission. in fact, they will be in the very room tomorrow and i will be definitely on them. i said to that commission that i would like for them to have a staff to cease and desist in what was going on in bayview hunters point dealing with the sewer plant. and the commissioner called me back to the podium and said,
ms. jackson, we don't have anything to do with the staff. we only deal with the director. i said, okay. but he said, i will be your [speaker not understood] between this commission and you, mrs. jackson, because when i come to a commission meeting, i come with facts. what we are going through in bayview hunters point and what i see now that i will have to do is request that the rico act be enforced here in san francisco. you made a statement about corruption. this city is so corrupt and it became corrupt from '96 up until now because of what is going on. and i've been watching. i'm 81 years of age, but i've been watching the politics of san francisco for the last 55 years. i have walked these halls like i own them. but i want to make sure that at
your next meeting -- i'm finished with that. at your next meeting -- you're the director, correct? when you go over the minutes -- i've already talked to the attorney -- to make sure that he look up the responsibility of the chair. and before you make your motion to support the minutes that's going to be presented to you, you will have to make adjustments because i don't want to see you in trouble on an action that you have taken because i have been chairman of many boards and i have been on many commissions and i had to learn robert's rules of order. so, that's one thing that i do know well, what a chairman can do and cannot do. so, i don't want no embarrassment on you all at all about your actions that you take. and i want you all to have a blessed evening. >> thank you.
any other public comment? dr. derek kerr. several of the public speakers mentioned that ms. ellis had reported her error to you and to the fppc. she he herself had done it. if so, that's commendable and should be taken into consideration. usually these types of wrongdoing come to you or the fppc from a tip, from a whistle blower. and the wrongdoers who are exposed by whistle blowers instinctively try to ferret out who it is and toize the threat, just a threat.
if this case came about through a whistle blower, i would be concerned about am i ellis' return to her position because that would constitute a risk, a threat to the whistle blower if there was one. ~ neutralize thank you. >> no voter action on number 5. so, moving on to number 6, discussion and possible action on the minutes of the commission's meeting of february 24, 2014. ~ on the minutes. i have one change i'd like to disclose. on page 4 of 6, it states that -- i think it's suggesting that i seconded the motion relating
to the closed session, and i don't think i did. i thought i recused myself for that item. okay. you have me rejoining after that so it's hard to see how i could have seconded it. so, i think that should be changed. any other -- >> do we adopt the minutes as amended? >> second. ~ move that we -- >> public comment? seeing none, all in favor? >> aye. >> opposed? passes. next item, the director's report. do we have a report? >> i'm going to make this very quick. the only thing i would draw your attention to is the chart attached to the eb report. you all may remember that the
city is actively pursuing a single data site with all of the good information about san francisco government and its work. and all the information and data available from the various agencies. so, the status report at a meeting held this week regarding this particular effort kind of shows you here that the ethics commission has really been quite a partner in this. the second one on defined reflects data that was posted by city employees who did not leave any identification as to who the poster was. so, we have no idea how that information is. so, you know, obviously always thanks to see our tech person worked that out, making available the data which is always good for transparency. that's my only highlight. >> comments from the commissioners on the executive director's report?
public comment? seeing none, items for future meeting. any proposals at this time? public comment on matters appearing -- do i need to take public comment on 8? public comment? seeing none. public comment on matters not appearing on the agenda. none. seeing none, is there a motion to adjourn the meeting? >> so moved. >> second. >> all in favor? >> aye. >> opposed? meeting is adjourned. [gavel]